Sunday Q&A with Michael Chaput
by Mark Caswell, Jr.Nov 6, 2016
You should know upfront that for Michael Chaput, success and scoring in hockey has always been in fashion. After his first nine games with Utica Comets, Chaput is tied for second in the American Hockey League for total points (13), and tied for the lead in assists (11).
Separated by only one point from league's point-leader, Brendan Leipsic, the Comets' "power surge" remains a highlight in progress.
Q: During the recent Comets' six day road trip, were you involved in any bonding activities?
A: No, not really, We just hung out as a team. This was the first time that we all were together for that amount of time. We had some meals together.
Q: As a Canadian , when playing in markets as St. John's and Toronto, do you have a higher sense of pride on the ice?
A: No. They're just another game. I've been living in the States for so long, it's (America) like my second country.
Q: Who did you room with on the road (Hartford & St. John's) ?
Q: You two do anything interesting?
A: We watched a lot of TV in our room (laughs).
Q: With this season now being your fifth as a pro, are you pretty good at packing and unpacking in different cities?
A: You make the best of it. I'm easy going. You just try and find a comfortable place.
Q: So, have you found a confortable place?
A: Greiner found us a nice place to live in; a ranch house. It's in a good spot for us.
Q: You spent four years in the Q (QMJHL) - three seasons with Lewiston in Maine, and your final season with Shawinigan. What was your Lewiston experience like?
A: Well, I moved away from home to Lewiston when I was 16-years-old. That was the first time I was away from my family. I was fortunate to be placed with a really nice billet family. That made my transition so much easier.
Q: Your dad Alain (Chaput) was involved with the team. What was his role?
A: My dad was the governor of the team.
Q: Why play for the Lewiston MAINEiacs?
A: My brother Stephane, before me, played there. I got to know the team and area. It seemed natural to do.
Q: Why did you leave after your third season in Lewiston for Shawinigan?
A: The team folded so the league dispersed us the players..
Q: It's amazing how that worked out for you - winning the Memorial Cup in 2012 with the Cataractes.
A: Everything about the Cup was amazing. We (Shawinigan) hosted the tournament, and it worked out well.
Q: Did you feel your team had a hometown advantage in the tournament?
A: The whole year we had the crowds behind us. There was always a full rink. (The Cataractes won the Memorial Cup by defeating London in the Finals, in OT. Chaput was named tournament MVP and tallied 12 points in six games).
Q: The Flyers drafted you in 2010 (Michael's dad Alain Chaput also was drafted by Philadelphia in 1977). Were you at the draft?
A: Oh, yeah. My whole family went to Los Angeles. It was our vacation. What an amazing feeling it is to hear your name called. Then, you stand up, and walk up to the stage.
Q: Compare the hockey atmosphere in Shawinigan to what you experienced the next season in Springfield, MA?
A: Junior versus pro hockey - they were both two smaller cities to play in. Shawinigan had sell-outs every game. Springfield was a really good place to be in, but the crowds didn't come out as much.
Q: Record-wise, your first and second seasons in Springfield - you were on some really successful teams (won 92 games total). Why no Calder Cup championship?
A: Yeah, we did have some really good teams. After the lockout (2012-13), we lost four or five guys up to Columbus. But, hey, when the playoffs come, anything could happen - right?
Q: When you began getting more time with Columbus in the NHL, was the experience what you had hoped it to be?
A: The more times I was in Columbus, the more I started to become confortable. You start getting to know all the people there. By my third season (2014-15), I spent half of it in Columbus.
Q: In your fourth season in the AHL, you move to Cleveland. Now, you win the Calder Cup. Really long season?
A: That was a really long season. I played in a lot of games. Mentally and physically I just wanted to unwind, to take time off. You have injuries that need to heal. But, winning the championship is an amazing feeling.
Q: Have your ring yet?
A: No. I assume they will ship it to me. The guys who are there now from last year's team, they have their rings.
Q: Are you surprised that your Cleveland coach Jared Bednar replaced Patrick Roy in Colorado?
A: No, not really. Jared was good for us in Cleveland, and Springfield.
Q: How would you describe your hometown of Isle Bizard (Quebec), for someone looking to take a vacation?
A: It's really nice - about 20 minutes from downtown Montreal; a suburb. There are three golf courses there. It's quiet and peaceful.
Q: Hockey Hall of Famer Guy LaFluer lives in Isle Bizard. It's also Vinnie Lacavalier's hometown. Have you had any interactions with Vinnie?
A: Yes. For the past couple of years, we have practiced in the same local rink.
Q: The PGA comes through Isle Bizard, there are three golf courses - do you play, and how good are you?
A: Sure, I play. There's a course near my house, and I'm not far from another. I'm....not the worst on the course. (laughs)
Q: Your brother Stephane played in three games for the Comets during their inaugural season, when you arrived in Utica, had Travis Green mentioned Stephane?
A: You know, I never really thought about that. No, he (Green) hasn't brought up my brother.
Q: What did Stephane tell you about Utica?
A: He said there are plenty of nice restaurants - great food. Stepjane wasn't in Utica that long.
Q: Who is the best-dressed player on the Comets?
A: Well, we haven't been on the road too many times this season yet, but so far, I would have to say Bachman. He's been looking pretty good in suits.
Q: If you could have dinner with any three people - who are you pulling up a chair to?
A: Denzel Washington, Cristiano Ronaldo, Maurice Richard.